New Community Engagement Coordinator Excited to Expand Advocacy Work
August 30, 2022
While she’s no stranger to Tacoma or WorkForce Central, we welcomed a “new” face to our team in June.
Kelly Blucher signed on as the new Community Engagement Coordinator and has already hit the ground running, leading another successful Collaboration for a Cause event in Fife.
Kelly comes to us from Goodwill, where she previously worked as the Community Engagement Manager. She has worked closely with WorkForce Central in the last few years, being involved with the Pierce County Community Engagement Task Force since its inception and as she developed the Collaboration for a Cause event and the mobile one-stop model.
Her passion for helping others and finding ways to help lift people out of poverty and homelessness is driven by her past.
“My lived experience as far as being homeless, addicted to drugs, and a single parent have guided my career and guided my advocacy,” Kelly said.
She was able to pull herself out of those situations and, at one point, was going into a nursing program but felt compelled instead to pursue a degree from UW Tacoma in nonprofit management, where she got connected working with Goodwill in 2014, starting as a donations attendant. From there, she worked her way up to the community engagement role, where she was able to grow numerous programs by advocating the needs of Goodwill clients.
Kelly said she’s excited to be able to expand her advocacy work with WorkForce Central and its system of partners.
“I’m excited to be able to have a greater impact. We have 22 system partners we work closely with. Give me the opportunity to expand within the workforce development area. We’ll be able to take it to a whole new level, take it across the county.”
“I think it’s important we expand services, listen to feedback, and grow programs tailored for participants to exceed,” Kelly said. “I see a lot of opportunity for growth, to have a greater impact with other Workforce Development Boards, and see some changes both state and locally.”
She wants to continue finding solutions to address homelessness and bring families out of multi-generational poverty.
“It’s really about helping people get into career pathways for sustainability and self-sufficiency,” she said. “Moving the needle on low wage employment.”
Kelly also wants to keep working to address barriers that impact the workforce, such as childcare. In 2019, she was invited to the White House, where she spoke about the challenges of working parents and childcare. From that trip, she said she has seen some changes in the right direction.
“Now I have three children, and I ran into that benefits cliff,” Kelly said. “Childcare barriers continue and don’t stop when you get to that living wage job.”